Editorial: Looking back one year after the January 2 storms

It's been one year since the devastating January 2nd storms blew through central Albany, leaving an unprecedented path of destruction behind.

One-hundred-year-old oak trees were blown over or broken in two across much of the city and Dougherty County. The ferocious winds left behind crushed homes, cars, and disrupted lives.

Many, many families had to go without power for days, while many other families had to find somewhere else to live while their homes were rebuilt.

Several businesses were also damaged and had to move or shut down.

Tift Park had to be closed off for most of the year because of the danger of falling limbs and broken trees.

The City of Albany endured a long and often painful recovery from the devastation.

But once again Albany showed it's true community spirit, coming together with neighbors helping neighbors.

Hundreds of people helped folks in need clean up their property.

The Chain Gang volunteers worked tirelessly cutting trees off and out of people's homes.

Hundreds of volunteers came to help complete strangers in a time of real need.

Giving, sharing, and caring was seen across Albany.

Now one year later, the city of Albany looks different. Many of the old trees that gave Albany it's distinctive character are gone.

Most people have their homes rebuilt, and most of the affected businesses are back open.

But now Albany faces the next leg of its recovery.

We have to depend on our elected city and county officials for the next step of investing state and federal disaster aid dollars in the most beneficial way.

We challenge elected officials to make sure every penny goes to wise investments that will benefit Albany and Dougherty County for decades to come. And we pray that we do not face the fury of another natural disaster to this degree again.

But we know that Albany will be able to handle any challenge, because it has proven in the floods of 1994, 1998, and now 2017 that we will stand together to face what life throws our way.

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